Ten Fantastic Food and Drink Attractions
by Dinah Hatch (June 2013)
With wall-to-wall celebrity chefs on TV, wine experts filling up the newspaper supplements every weekend and an increasing focus on the provenance of the food and drink we eat, it’s no wonder that us Brits enjoy a day out that has a focus on treating the taste buds. These are ten of my favourite attractions to do just that…
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354 Castle Hill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh
In a prime location by centuries-old Edinburgh Castle, the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre goes to town with its explanation of the origins of this most famous of wee drams. Take a barrel ride through a replica distillery during which you will hear the story behind how this world famous export is made and meet expert guides along the way. The tour ends with a look at the world’s largest collection of Scotch Whisky and the chance of a quick drink (children get Irn Bru). The shop is a treasure trove of retail opportunities, of course, and there’s even a restaurant to round the day off in.
Foxhole Lane, Bolney
On a fine South Downs day at the bottom of England, there’s almost no finer place to be than sipping cold bubbly grown from the soil beneath your feet. The family-run 39-acre Bolney Wine Estate has been producing red, white, rose and sparkling wine since it opened in 1972. The soil here is similar to that in the French region of Champagne, so you can imagine what the sparkling wine tastes like. But don’t just take my word for it – take a tour of the estate finishing up with a tasting in the sunshine (and lunch, if you like).
Abbots Court, 41 Station Road, Whalley, Clitheroe
So, you’ve seen Masterchef and it has inspired you. Head along to Food by Breda Murphy in Whalley, Lancs, and step inside her unassuming red brick home which has become a powerhouse to cooking. Breda, who worked at Lake District foodie hotspot The Inn at Whitewell and now runs a deli, bistro and cookery school, takes classes on how to prepare the sort of gob-smackingly great dishes she sells in her restaurant using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Reward yourself for your labours afterwards and tuck into Breda’s signature dish of fish pie with poached haddock, salmon and prawns with champ potato and cheddar cheese.
Glen Turret, The Hosh, Crieff
Welcome to Scotland’s oldest distillery, home of the world’s largest bottle of whisky, where guided tours take you through the process of how this most famous of drinks is created. The smell as you wander past great copper vats along the way is wonderful and of course there’s plenty of opportunity for tasting when you reach the end. Kids, families should note, are catered for with a play park and picnic area. They’ll also the Grouse Room interactive game which sees Gilbert the Grouse fly over Scottish landmarks and then disintegrate into a jigsaw with pieces falling to the floor.
Church Road, Great Milton, Oxford
Despite Monsieur Blanc’s seriously impressive chef pedigree, his restaurant’s cookery lessons led by head tutor Mark Peregrine are known for being a lot of fun whilst at the same time making sure you know your al dente from your au gratin. Courses run over one day, two days or four days and there are even ones for the children (well, got to start them early). Book the wine and dine package for a real one-off treat.
No 1 Bank End, London
There are thousands of bottles of wines nestling in this atmospheric high-vaulted ceilinged space beneath Victorian arches close to Borough Market in the heart of London and it is your task to decide which you like. It’s a tough life. There’s also a champagne bar, tapas bar, geography zone where you learn about the difference between wines from different countries and a discovery zone where you can taste Nyetimber sparkling English wine. There are five restaurants and bars in all, two shops to pick up whatever you became partial to on your tour and private space for hire.
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